Tag: Movies

[BLOG] A Little Something Extra… Hatton talks Scarlet Witch: Wanda Ex Machina

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Heya Somethings!

If you haven’t followed along the last few months, we’ve talked a lot about the MCU’s TV outing WandaVision – and for good reason.. whether you dug it or not, it was a fresh take on a story that really felt beyond the scope of what DizMarv would try and pull off.  The concept of the show isn’t precisely a straight from comics series, but it does take some points from the comic and the on-again off-again low bubble story of the Scarlet Witch’s tragedies. The on-again / off-again aspect is very much because comic writers sometimes pick up a character where they want them to be and another character sees where they should be differently, so you end up with disparate versions of the same character… but since it’s comics, it’s usually begrudgingly accepted.

That said – Wanda is, quite literally, my least favorite Avenger… and it is mostly because her power set is so vaguely ‘chaos magic/hex powers/mutant ability/reality warping/etc’ that she has become the go-to on how to get into a bad situation or out of one.  So why don’t we take a look at the reason the Scarlet Witch has the power to disassemble how much great stuff the MCU has done…

First – let’s take a look at Wanda in the early years of Avengers…

Using her mutant ‘Hex Power’ she basically had telekinesis that only worked half the time. If the villain was too strong, too not-human enough, too aware, too magic, or too advanced.. there was a lot of this sort of ‘OH IF ONLY…’  But from this issue above (Avengers #99, 1972) to this panel from (West Coast Avengers, #56, 1989) she has fallen in love with Vision, he’s been taken apart by the government and replaced with an emotional white husk of his former self (sound familiar) and has been corrupted by an evil something er another…

And just like that – Wanda’s powerset has grown exponentially and is never reined in again. It just continues to morph and grow and get bigger and dumber and more unwieldly.  All the while she ends up being the go-to damsel in countless stories.  Wanda’s been brainwiped. Wanda’s in a coma. Wanda’s been kidnapped. Brainwiped again. She gets over the Vision. She’s not over the Vision. She has moved on to become a better person. She can’t handle the Avengers. Just non-stop using her as a foil and a victim and a catalyst when honestly, all she really needs is some good head meds and a shrink.

Then….. in the 2000’s – literal hundreds of comics later.. she becomes enraged about her kids and takes down the Avengers.  She’s locked up and the Marvel heroes are legitimately contemplating killing her.  Yes, there’s a lot of handwringing and ‘we can’t do that’ talk, but the fact is – the idea pops up and is considered… so when Xavier and her comic dad, Magneto, show up at her cell.  She does this:

She creates an entire reality where mutants never existed and her dad is the king and everyone is happy. (House of M) — When we break out of that alternate world, no more mutants are being born… like she literally altered the DNA of the world. All the while she continues to disappear for a while, come back and be forgiven, or atone, or have her powers changed yet again — the cycle continues on. When there is an unstoppable unbeatable villain?  Who do writers call on… whatever version of Wanda is useful for them.  No reason to explain it – just call it ‘Untapped Remarkable Powers’ and it’ll do just fine.  When Wanda can’t do it.. just have someone photocopy Wanda’s powers so DOUBLE WANDA can do it. (Avengers v. X-Men #12, below)

I’m thrilled that Wandavision was so good. I just hope that the movie writers don’t fall into the same pit that the comic writers have for years – that by not defining the Scarlet Witch, you leave her available as a crutch to lean on whenever you didn’t have a better ending in mind.

[BLOG] A Little Something Extra, PCR Talks Bond…

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Hey Somethings!

This week, I want to dive into a part of one of my all-time favorite film franchises… James Bond.

Bond films have set a high bar for fight scenes, chase scenes, cinematic excellence, and, what I’ll touch on this week… stunts.  So join me as I run through my top 3 favorite stunts in James Bond Movies!

3 – Corkscrew Car

In “The Man With The Golden Gun”, we get a comical sequence where Bond ‘reunites’ with a character from a former movie, J. W. Pepper.  As the duo chases Scaramanga, they come across a broken bridge over a river.  Flooring it, Bond drives his red AMC Hornet X Hatchback at the broken bridge, which corkscrews the car through midair, landing safely on the other side.  It was stuntman Loren “Bumps” Willert’s first time doing the stunt, and he pulled it off in one take. (Check it out here)

2 – Boat Jump

“Live and Let Die” was Roger Moore’s first Bond film, and the first time he encounters Sheriff J. W. Pepper.  In this scene, Bond is being chased by Kananga’s men through the bayous of Louisiana.  Running out of water, Bond races his boat at an embankment alongside a highway where Pepper and his men are waiting for him.  Hitting the embankment, Bond’s boat sails over 100 feet in the air before landing in the water on the other side of the highway. (Check it out here)

1 – Dam Jump

“Goldeneye” marks Bond’s first return to the screen after a 6 year hiatus, and the first time Pierce Brosnan takes up the title role.  In the pre-title scene, we see Bond running along the top of the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland.  In a wide, panoramic shot, after securing a cable, Bond dives off the top of the dam in a makeshift bungee escape.  The leap set a world record for stuntman Wayne Michaels, which was done in one take.  The scenery, the epicness of the cinematography, and the fact the jump was done in silence just emphasizes the immensity of it all, and puts this stunt at the top of my list. (Check it out here)

[BLOG] A Little Something Extra, PCR’s Favorite Swords

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Hey hey Somethings!  PCR here, and today I’m listing out my “Top 5 Favorite Swords”!  These could be from movies, TV, Comics, Video Games… not limiting myself here.  I am also grouping “Lightsabers” as an honorable mention as a whole.

On to the list in no particular order!

5 – D’Artagnan’s/Top Dollar’s/Inigo Montoya’s Rapier
While not the same prop, they all have an amazingly similar style and look to them.  The large, swept-hilted basket hilt is very distinctive and back in my Ren-Faire days, it was my favorite kind of weapon to wield.

4 – Highlander’s Ivory Katana
While there should have been only one (movie), this sword quickly became iconic.  I know when that movie came out, if you picked up *any* katana, you were immediately acting out one of the many scenes from “Highlander”

3 – Vanth Dreadstar’s Sword
The title character from First Comic’s “Dreadstar”, Vanth’s weapon was more than just a sword, it was a part of him.  Made of energy, he could manifest the sword as a weapon of unbelievable power, or he could absorb it into himself to become nigh invulnerable.
2 – The Bride’s Katana
Forged by legendary swordsmith Hattori Hanzo from 1000 layered Japanese steel, this sword was able to dispatch the Crazy 88, O-Ren Ishii, and undoubtedly been able to, as Hanzo stated when presenting it to her… cut God himself.


1 – Sword of Omens
Able to grant “sight beyond sight”, Lion-O’s sword.. containing the Eye of Thundera was more than just a mere sword.  Nearly a sentient being in it’s own right, The Sword of Omens was instrumental in defeating Mumm-Ra on many occasions, as well as summoning the ThunderCats to Lion-O’s side when needed.

Honorable mentions:

  • Lightsabers
  • Kurgan’s Sword
  • Excalibur

Badass Women in Film

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Were you aware that it is Women’s History Month?

Well it is, and to celebrate that the way the Somethings do.. we are talking about our favorite badass women from movies! Now, of course, you are already concocting a list in your head of your favorites, and I assure you – some of them are mentioned – but we also are diving into some of our favorites from movies you might have missed! Oh, and they aren’t all heroes, to be certain…

So if you are ready for some ass-kicking ladies, some gun-toting gals, some name-takin’ dames – settle in and get ready because we’re ready to rock.

And one last time, we would like to thank Quixotic Games for sponsoring these last few episodes.  You have one more chance to get your copies of Core Worlds: Empires & Nemesis as they accept late pledges for their successful Kickstarter campaign! Don’t miss your window, the offer will only be open while supplies last.

Ok, here she goes!

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[BLOG] A Little Something Extra, Hatton’s Good & Bad Movies

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How many movies have you seen the past year?  If you are anything like good ol’ Hatton here, you have probably seen a lot.  I have been getting annoyed with myself at just how many damned movies I’ve digested in the last year because.. honestly, why the hell shouldn’t I?  I’ve found in recent months that it is harder to settle in to a television show (although I most certainly have), but I can convince myself to give up 2 hours to movies about almost anything. So here are a few of the movies I’ve watched that I’ve loved, and also a couple that I’ve hated.  If you have any interest you can read my shorter reviews on these and every movie I watch over on Letterboxd (which is basically like GoodReads, but for movies (which is basically Raveller, but with books (which is basically … ok, I’ve run out, but about yarn).

The Good

SOUL – Yeah, there was no way that Pixar’s journey into the afterlife, what it means to live, the soul, and jazz wasn’t going to make a list of movies I enjoyed. It’s just rich in color and tone, it makes the music feel like a living and breathing character while the performances of Jamie Foxx and Tina Fey are so emotional in both the good and the bad, I would believe that they are best friends outside of work. I also would watch that talk show. Anyway, Soul is beautiful and the music, from a genre that I don’t usually have anything to say, makes the world live.

 

VFW – In the ‘weird subgenre’ tropes that exist out there, the ‘a group have to defend their place from evil’ is one you don’t hear a lot from. Things like Breakin‘ 2 or Revenge of the Nerds, obviously 1980’s fair and Home Alone being the most famous. (I do hope you are now sitting there and trying to find the connection between those 3 movies, and I assure you.. it’s there. They’re movies about a group of like-minded people defending a THING, a PLACE, an IDEA from evil.  Well, in VFW it’s a bunch of veterans defending their watering hole from evil drugged out punks. It’s an action movie riot – and stars so many actors you know from that action movie thing they did that time.  The film looks dated, the locales look old… this movie could be from 1993 Cinemax and you wouldn’t know the damned difference.  It’s brilliant.

 

SPONTANEOUS – This is, by far, the best movie I’ve seen in a long time. Part of that, I’m sure, is because I wasn’t expecting it.  The premise is that there are kids in a high school that occasionally blow up, so the rest of the class has to deal with it. It sounded like it was going to be a perfect little silly horror comedy, but it isn’t what I got. It is a movie with humor that actually made me laugh out loud, and the emotional weight of a Heathers or a Pump Up The Volume. The movie is a breakdown of the modern teenage experience in ways I can’t empathize, but I certainly can sympathize.  If you go look up one thing on this blog post today – This should be the one.

 

THE BAD

GIRLS WITH BALLS – A weird French Canadian film about a volleyball team fighting deliverance style backwoods types that turn out to be a cult?  I mean, it isn’t the worst premise in the world… sadly, the movie it got is just a series of  scenes that may have had plots, but somehow they don’t now. The same 5 bad guys dying over and over again due to, I am sure, budget reasons. Moments of suspense ruined by these girls yelling at each other over their status in the team, but the comedy being ruined by not having a punchline. This movie fails at fundamentally everything, it doesn’t even fit the mark for a ‘so bad its good’ because it knows its bad… so there is intent, which makes it even dumber. The poster is actually much cooler than the movie

 

STARFISH – The world is ending and this girl may or may not have the answer to fix it?  I mean, that feels like a good slug line for a reasonable film… but this movie just.. walks around. Takes a nap. Reads a book. Feeds the fish. Ignores the monster outside. Doesn’t tell you much about what’s going on. Takes another nap. Ends.  Seriously, won’t lie, that’s pretty much the whole thing. The worst kind of ‘horror as art’ and ‘I don’t have to explain it to you, Warren…

 

30 MILES FROM NOWHERE – A bunch of 30 – 40 somethings all meet in the woods after one of their own’s funeral. I actually am most disappointed by this one, as I find the premise is wonderful. It is the sort of premise you hear about a great play… there is a history the viewer isn’t aware of, tensions we can’t see, there is so much that could be happening before the story even starts that it is rife with things to reveal — but 30 Miles just starts the film with everyone acting nice, but hating each other. It is less ‘Friends reconnected’ and more ‘We have to do this’ – which would be fine, that is a reasonable direction, but none of them respond to anything reasonably. They just do dumb plot-pushing things and yell at each other!

That’s that! A few movies to tide you over until we’re allowed outside – I mean, even the bad ones take up time… it’s an angry, want to crush and destroy, time.. but it’s time.

So what have you seen during the world of lockdown? What great or horrible thing had you previously missed? Let us know!  

 


Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!

[BLOG] A Little Something Extra Rob’s Nightmare on Elm Street Movies: Ranked

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Hey Somethings!

Been playing a fair amount of Freddy on Dead By Daylight lately, and that got me thinking about the “Nightmare” franchise, so here’s my take on ranking all nine movies from worst to best!

#9 – Freddy’s Dead : The Final Nightmare
This movie was trash.  Most of their plots and ‘revelations’ were lifted from other movies that the viewer had known for a while (Wait… you can PULL FREDDY OUT OF A DREAM?!?!?…) which made things very boring for me, and the times they tried to be original (Freddy having a daughter.. his power coming from ‘Dream Demons’…) were so schlocky that this movie easily falls to the bottom of the list.

 

#8 – A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy’s Revenge
Regardless of the possible ‘subtext’ of this movie… it was a huge downgrade from the original with lackluster acting, cheesy visuals, and ZERO memorable scenes. The lack of memorable scenes gives it JUST enough of a boost over the AMAZINGLY memorable(ly bad) Final Nightmare to have this one clock in at number 8.

 

Good, bad, I’m
the one with the
knives…

#7 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (2010 Remake)
Rebooting a beloved franchise that had fallen off in recent years?  Casting Jackie Earl Haley (who was amazing as Rorschach in ‘Watchmen’) as Freddy?  I’m in!  At least… I wanted to be in.  It felt like a college film project based on the original.  Visually it was close (although, I wasn’t a fan of Freddy’s ‘new’ look), but it lacked the heart and… dare I say charm.. .of the original.  All in all, the title was accurate, though not in the way that was intended.

 

#6 – Freddy VS Jason
It was a bold move to even attempt this movie as it had the potential to ruin two different, beloved horror franchises…however, out of all the matchups that could have been made… the ‘immovable object’ of Jason paired up with the wise-cracking Freddy was the perfect match.  While the ending was to be expected, it was a valid homage to both fan bases and well done.

 

#5 – Wes Craven’s New Nightmare
This movie is underrated.  Arriving 3 years after ‘The end of the franchise’, I love the metaness of it.  I love seeing the principle cast back.  While it’s the poorest performing movie of the lot, and falls a bit outside of the continuity of the franchise, it was an amazingly bold direction to go in and I applaud the choice.

 

#4 – A Nightmare on Elm Street : The Dream Child 
The wrap up of the ‘middle trilogy’, “The Dream Child” uses Alice’s unborn baby’s dreams to fuel Freddy’s ability and was the poorest performing of said trilogy.  The gas was starting to run out of the series, which lead to the inevitable “Final Nightmare” debacle.

 

#3 – A Nightmare on Elm Street : The Dream Master 
This was the mid point of the “Dream….” trilogy and it effectively put Renny Harlan on the map.  Pulling in nearly $50 mil on a $6.5 mil budget, it was the highest grossing film of the series in the U.S. until Freddy VS Jason came out… even with Patricia Arquette’s role recast to Tuesday Knight.

 

Plus, that song…

#2 – A Nightmare on Elm Street : Dream Warriors
Spots 2 and 1 are close enough for me to almost be interchangeable… (almost).  With a great cast (Langenkamp, Arquette, Fishburn…) it revitalized the franchise after the dismal “Freddy’s Revenge” and really drove the series for the next two films.  Had this movie tanked, it easily could have relegated “Nightmare” movies to late-Saturday-night-schlockfests until it died with a whimper.  Instead, it lit a fire in the fandom and shifted the series from straight horror/slasher to more Horror/SciFi/Fantasy which was a wise choice.

And the number one is!

#1 – A Nightmare on Elm Street (1984)
This is the one that started it all, and therefore deserves top spot on the list.  With an original concept for a slasher/killer and amazing practical effects, this movie put not only Freddy, but Langenkamp and a young Johnny Depp on viewer’s radar.  Without the impact this movie had, none of the others would have been made, and therefore takes its rightful spot at the top of my list.


Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!

[The Wheel] Predictions: Marvel Phase 4

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It’s time for another adventure with the WHEEL!

With a myriad of topics and journeys for the Somethings to go on, what is it this week? Well the answer is right there in the title, but you should still act surprised.

From WandaVision to Dr. Strange, the Young Avengers, X-Men, and all of the movies pushed back – we are going to talk about what might be coming next for the House of Ideas.

Don’t forget to check out our friends at Quixotic Games brand new Kickstarter for the CORE WORLDS sequel and its expansion. CORE WORLDS: EMPIRES and NEMESIS that are not only live, but almost to goal!

Ok, here we Mephisgo!

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[BLOG] A Little Something Extra, Rob’s Great Scenes From Movies You’ve Probably Never Seen

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I love me some movies.  I also love me some well filmed movies.  Even better?  Movies that have scenes that just, for one reason or another, stick with you for years after you watch them.  With that in mind, here’s some of mine.

Immediately hired by White Wolf

Near Dark
End Chase.  Near Dark is a great vampire movie, and while there are a number of good scenes in it, the image of Jesse and Diamondback in the station wagon, huddled under blankets to block the sun, smiling as they smoulder and start to catch fire as they try to run over Caleb is just a great visual scene.

Bound
Cesar’s Death.  Bound is another movie that is chock-full of great scenes, but the best one for me is Cesar’s death.  The top-down camera angle as it pulls back and we see Cesar, his blood pooling into the large puddle of white paint, then pulling back further and the white paint puddle framed by the dark floor… the way it was filmed, the contrast… it reminds me of the scene in The Untouchables after Capone killed that guy with a bat at the banquet table, just some great cinematography.

Welcome… to the Rock

Men With Brooms
“The Juggernaut’s Entrance”.  Years ago, after seeing curling for the first time on the Olympics, a friend of mine and I found a place in NJ and took lessons.  It was there we learned about a fun little movie called ‘Men With Brooms’.  If you’ve played curling or are familiar with it, this movie is great, and the cast is pretty impressive.  The scene I loved the most was when Alexander “The Juggernaut” Yount and his squad enter the bonspiel in matching silver lamé tracksuits with cheerleaders and pyro going off at the entrance.  The fact that curling in and of itself is such a subdued/great sportsmanship sport made their entrance scene completely hilarious.

28 Days Later
Deserted London.  I know you’ve probably seen this movie, but I had to include it for the scenes of deserted London.  It wasn’t a huge scene to be honest, established to get the point across of how empty everything was… but the scenes of London Bridge… just… EMPTY… it hit on a scale of not only what kind of undertaking it was to get that scene filmed, but how absolutely terrifying it would be to be in that position of being there and just… being completely alone. 

…I don’t think this is the right image…

Ghost Dog
Sidewalk scene.  This is a visually amazing movie from Jim Jarmusch with Forest Whitaker in the lead.  There’s a scene in the movie where he’s walking down a fairly busy sidewalk while people and businesses are interacting around him and.. the cinematography is nothing short of stunning in my opinion.  The way that people are talking to each other, bringing trash to the curb, waving to people driving by… but do so in a way that NONE of them actually make visual contact with Whitaker as he walks… one pace… never changing speed…it was such an amazing way to show how his character walks through society under the radar.


Every week, the Somethings will be giving you a little something extra, so please check back every week for reviews, lists, cool finds, and more!

Bad ‘Book to Movie’ Movies

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Sometimes, a good movie comes out and you find out that it came from a book! Sometimes it goes an entire other way – where you see a movie and you wonder what kind or source material could have birthed such madness… or the worst of the worst… you love the book, and the movie you get doesn’t even come close to the experience you had with words on paper.

Those are the ones we’re talking about today – movies that nobody would mind if we got a re-try on. Movies that just didn’t do any of their words justice and the things we love and hate about them.

Before we start, we would like to tell you to check out our friends at Quixotic Games brand new Kickstarter for the CORE WORLDS sequel and its expansion. CORE WORLDS: EMPIRES and NEMESIS are going live on 02/02/21, and you don’t want to miss out!

Ok, here we snow! (a day early!)

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[Wheel] Elevator Pitch: Movie Mash-Up

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We are back live and streaming with our first hang-out party of the year – and what are we discussing? Well we’re going to an old favorite of ours, THE WHEEL! Which is a series of topics that now can appear randomly!

So we spin the wheel, make some deals, and Mash-Up two different movie franchises to make one brand new series to see whether we can get it pitched to the invisible director we are somehow stuck in an elevator with.

Want to join the party next time, head to TWITCH and follow so you don’t miss out!

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